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Over Easy: The Water Company Letter [Updated]

3:32 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

Update: The company that is the subject of a good deal of ribbing in this satire has, to its good credit, sent a more detailed 2014 water quality report, that we just received a few minutes ago. The company has, in fact, met standards on required contaminants and volunteered on a few others- also no issues. That said though, and this is not the company’s fault at all…for example, few (only two shown here) runoff and chemical factory discharge herbicide and pesticides are even required, to be monitored in the drinking water, and this is an agricultural area. It remains a complex and larger issue.

Last week, we received a letter titled, “Paducah Water: Important Information About Your Drinking Water, Total Trihalomethanenes (TTHM) Violation.” The letter explains:

Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this incident was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened and what we did to correct this situation.

Trihalomethanenes, according to the letter are “four volatile organic chemicals which form when disinfectants react with natural organic matter in the water. At 0.081 mg/L, our tap drinking water was at least for a time, contaminated.

The letter says 0.081 is “not an emergency.” Could it be the water, that our teeth are not-emergency going bad at an alarming rate, and every night, Fred ‘does’ his eyes? Without going into the gory details, his eye routine involves me saying to him, “Oh, are you going to do your eyes now?” That’s how routine it has become, just like the box we have, labeled, “teeth,” that also has the ineffective mouth guard a dentist once suggested. But perhaps these are the normal routines of individuals who live with non-emergency environmental pollution.

We learned that when the West Virginia chemical spill happened that there really are hundreds of chemicals, toxins, and pollutants, and that the Ohio River, for example, could be more aptly named The River of Blood. Given the list of horrendous possibilities raising visions of the atomic era that earned Paducah the name “Atomic City,” we never once considered the simple possibility of a toxin hidden in plain sight in our drinking water.

The Paducah Water Letter advises:

If you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, are pregnant, or are elderly, you may be at increased risk and should seek advice from your health care providers about drinking this water.

Yet they knew, by their own admission, on 1/2/2014, that the minimum standard for one of these chemicals was exceeded, and the information was “distributed” on 5/29/2014, and got to us…last week. That is the background for this satirical rantire:

What should I do?

There is nothing you need to do. You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. Spit your remaining teeth out where no one is likely to step on them because sores on the feet never heal. If a situation arises where the water is no longer safe to drink, notify an undertaker.

What does this mean?

This is not an emergency, unless you’re alive. If you are, there is nothing you can do about it anyway, except inform your neighbors. We waited six months to tell you these things in a letter so that anyone inclined to hire the likes of a functional lawyer from Tennessee and sue in Federal court for any health reason at all, the six-month cushion will curtail those urges you may have to tie up our rigged dockets, while you spit your teeth out, onto the sidewalk.

It’s not lost on us that a good deal of the riff-raff will be weeded out from trying to get some sort of reimbursement from the courts for the trouble of drinking a mere four poisons out of many thousands of possibles on the planet that we shouldn’t even have to monitor but for the goddamned libruls and their tree-hugging kinfolks who moved here from someplace else who vote, but who should be burned at the stake instead. There will still be many literal walking dead who will amazingly, walk into Federal court, year after agonizing year, burning up from the inside out like those Hanford downwinders or those uranium hexafluoride people, and we will have to out-wait them, while they have the utter gall to stay sick for years.

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Over Easy: Environment Links

4:19 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

Good morning everyone! I apologize for the brevity on the links post today. I took a week away from the internet to do some spring cleaning, so I am physically exhausted!

There are a few more environment-related links I will add, but in the meantime, I hope you find these interesting.

Profits Before People: 7 of the World’s Most Irresponsible Companies Although this is from 2009, it is still an interesigng read.

The Bark Beele blues is an update that discusses conditions causing the destructive beetle to survive.

Spring 2013 forecast: Tornado season delayed, not canceled The tornado season has been mild this year, but the season is not over, and we can expect some activity.

Environment news

Clean energy progress too slow to limit global warming, warns IEA

With governments failing to promote green energy, top scientists say the drive to keep temperature rise below 2C has stalled

Endangered Animals Boat Filled With Endangered Species Hits Reef

Scientists have gleam in their eye

Arctic Report Card 2012

9:20 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks changes in the environment and has released the Arctic Report Card: Update for 2012. Based on multiple observations, the report finds “strong evidence of widespread, sustained change driving Arctic environmental system into new state,” and highlights the following:

Record low snow extent and low sea ice extent occurred in June and September, respectively.

Growing season length is increasing along with tundra greenness and above-ground biomass. Below the tundra, record high permafrost temperatures occurred in northernmost Alaska. Duration of melting was the longest observed yet on the Greenland ice sheet, and a rare, nearly ice sheet-wide melt event occurred in July.

Massive phytoplankton blooms below summer sea ice suggest previous estimates of ocean primary productivity might be ten times too low. Arctic fox is close to extinction in Fennoscandia and vulnerable to further changes in the lemming cycle and the encroaching Red fox.

Severe weather events included extreme cold and snowfall in Eurasia, and two major storms with deep central pressure and strong winds offshore of western and northern Alaska.

This year also marks the first time that there has been less than 4 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles) of sea ice since satellite observations began in 1979. Visualization here.

The Most Anti-Environment House in the History of Congress

7:21 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

Smoke pours from smokestacks.

Pollution, by ribarnica on flickr, creative commons.

Voting 247 times in the last 18 months to undermine regulations that protect the environment, the “House of Representatives has become the most anti-environment House in the history of Congress,” according to a June 18, 2012 report (PDF) prepared for Congress members Henry Waxman and Edward Markey.

House Republicans have repeatedly voted to undermine basic environmental protections that have existed for decades. They have voted to block actions to prevent air pollution; to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of authority to enforce water pollution standards; to halt efforts to address climate change; to stop the Department of the Interior from identifying lands suitable for wilderness designations; to allow oil and gas development off the coasts of Florida, California, and other states opposed to offshore drilling; and to slash funding for the Department of Energy, including funding to support renewable energy and energy efficiency, by more than 80%. The House of Representatives averaged one anti-environmental vote for every day the House was in session in 2011 and the first half of 2012. Of the 1,100 legislative roll call votes taken in the House since the beginning of 2011, 19% – almost one out of every five – were votes to undermine environmental protection. During these roll calls, 94% of Republican members voted for the anti-environment position, while 87% of Democratic members voted for the pro-environment position.

The report explains that the oil and gas industry is the largest beneficiary of the numerous Republican votes to dismantle environmental protections. Perhaps the oil and gas industry stands to profit in the short term, but what about the cost of environmental destruction in the long term? House Republicans have voted to undermine The Clean Air Act that was signed into law in 1970 by President Nixon. According to an EPA full report, the benefits of the Clean Air Act outweigh the costs by a factor of four to one. In 2010, according to EPA, the Clean Air Act:

saved over 160,000 lives; avoided more than 100,000 hospital visits; prevented millions of cases of respiratory problems, including bronchitis and asthma; enhanced productivity by preventing 13 million lost workdays; and kept kids healthy and in school, avoiding 3.2 million lost school days due to respiratory illness and other diseases caused or exacerbated by air pollution.

In addition, House Republicans have voted to remove protections for public lands, fish and wildlife. These are areas that contain scenic wonders as well as endangered species.

America’s public lands and resources also supported two million jobs and generated $363 billion in revenue in 2010. Yet House Republicans voted 39 times to weaken environmental protections on public lands in 2011 and the first half of 2012.

Why would, and how could, anyone vote to destroy the national parks? The litany continues:

•77 votes to undermine Clean Air Act protections, including votes to repeal the health-based standards that are the heart of the Clean Air Act and to block EPA regulation of toxic mercury and other harmful emissions from power plants, incinerators, industrial boilers, cement plants, and mining operations. • 39 votes to weaken protection of public lands and wildlife, including votes to halt reviews of public lands for possible wilderness designations and to remove protections for salmon, wolves, sea turtles, and other species. • 37 votes to block action to address climate change, including votes to overturn EPA’s scientific findings that climate change endangers human health and welfare; to block EPA from regulating carbon pollution from power plants, oil refineries, and vehicles; to prevent the United States from participating in international climate negotiations; and even to cut funding for basic climate science. • 31 votes to undermine Clean Water Act protections, including votes to strip EPA of authority to set water quality standards and enforce limits on industrial discharges; to repeal EPA’s authority to stop mountaintop removal mining disposal; and to block EPA from protecting headwaters and wetlands that flow into navigable waters.

Is the current House of Representatives looking to win a world record for voting to put the environment on a fast track to destruction? The full report is here (PDF), if you can even stand to read it.